This first photograph is causing some concern; though it’s captioned ‘Crown Hotel’ and the signage on the front aspect reads’ Crown Hotel’, the building is what is known today as the Links Hotel. Compare with the modern-day picture taken from Google Maps, which constitutes the second image.
However, also to be considered is the photograph below (loaned by Mr Danny Brookes of Skegness). The advertising sign says ‘Shardeloes Annex of the Crown Hotel’, which supports the theory that the present-day Links Hotel was previously called The Crown.
Regarding the above photograph, Alvin Benson has kindly drawn attention to the same picture which appeared in a local history book. It carries the caption: ‘Shardeloes’ in Shardeloes Road, a detached annex to the Crown Hotel in the 1920s It was later joined onto the hotel WHICH HAD EARLIER BEEN KNOWN AS THE LINKS. This, bizarrely, insinuates that the Links (as we know it today) was previously called the Crown BUT prior to that it was called The Links! Not sure I’m going along with that theory at the moment…..
Lands at Seacroft and Gibraltar Point were formerly owned by Thomas Tyrwhit Drake, and the following newspaper cutting, though irrelevant to Skegness in its content, tells us that TT Drake lived in Shardeloe near Amersham in Buckinghamshire. Streets around Seacroft are names Drake Road, Shardeloes Road, and the (old) Vine Pullover was once named Amersham Road. We might bear this connection in mind when trying to solve the Crown/Links mystery, as the postcard above connects the name ‘Shardeloes’ to The Crown.
Source: Stamford Mercury – Friday 01 March 1822
These are the only clues I have at present, other than the Links is said to have opened in 1927, and it’s been suggested that the Crown, as we know it today, used to be a school.
The earliest reference I have found to the Crown Hotel so far is in a 1915 issue of the Derby Daily Telegraph where and advert was placed by the proprietor, Miss Smithson.
On the 1911 census, Louise Smithson from Hull and Kate Smith from Norwich were working at the nearby Vine Hotel. So could this tell us something? Crown (Links) Hotel maybe not yet built (1911) and when it was Smithson and Smith maybe left Vine to run it! (Thanks to Sharon Pruhs for 1911 census lookup.)
Here is part of the 1928 street directory and look, Crown Avenue is situated between Vine Rd and Wilfred Grove! Why should THAT have been called Crown Ave if it wasn’t next to the Crown Hotel? Paul Marshall has suggested Crown Avenue may have been named after Crown Cottage (as seen on street directory)…a good point which we will have to keep in mind!
So now we’ve narrowed the year of construction of the Crown Hotel (Links) to between 1911 and August 1914 (as it’s unlikely building was done during the war).
I am still searching for more information to solve this mystery….
From the newspaper article transcribed below, it appears that the Misses Smith & Smithson managed the Vine, then moved to the Crown Hotel (which WE know as the Links Hotel), then took the Crown name with them when they moved to the Shardeloes Hotel which is the present-day Crown Hotel!
Miss Louie Bourne Smithson passed away at the Crown Hotel Seacroft, at the age of 61.
The deceased ladyhad a severe illness some months ago, but although she had not regained her former health, she was so far recovered as to be able to get out occassionally. She was, we understand, down in town as recently as Friday last, and the news of her death came as a painful surprise to the local community.
The late Miss Smithson was for some years co-manageress with Miss Smith, of the Vine Hotel, and subseqently the two ladies too charge of the Crown Hotel (NOW THE LINKS HOTEL) where they built up a highly successful connection, particularly among the many visiting players of the seacroft Golf Links.
In due course, they transferred their activities to more commodious premises nearer the links, TAKING THE NAME OF THE ‘CROWN’WITH THEM.
The hotel increased in popularity and the numerous patrons who have enjoyed the hospitality of this far-famed establishment will deeply deplore the severance of the partnership upon which its success has been founded.
Source: Skegness Standard 05 January 1927